U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced H.R. 4240 today, the bipartisan North Korean Human Rights Act.
The act was first introduced in 2004 and reauthorized in 2008.
"As innocent North Koreans at great personal risk flee this repressive regime, we have a duty to assist these refugees and prevent their forcible repatriation," said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). "We must work together with our close ally South Korea, other friends in the region, and the human rights community to expose the horrendous human rights abuses committed by the regime in Pyongyang and help those who have managed to escape the North's brutality."
The bipartisan legislation calls on China to halt its forcible repatriation of North Koreans and allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees unimpeded access to North Koreans inside China to determine whether fleeing North Koreans require protection.
It also calls for support for human rights and democracy programs in North Korea, and continued efforts to promote freedom of information, as well as extend the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues.